after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Journey to Naoshima and Kyoto

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t says: g told me there was an “art island” in Japan. Because we cancelled the Korea part of our trip, we needed to fill up those extra days, so we figured that this would be an excuse to get out of Tokyo. Naoshima is quite a journey. The Shinkansen to Okayama was a snap, but the two trains afterwards to get to Uno port was a bit more butt-clenching (Where are we? Where are we supposed to be? Quick – get on the train before it leaves! Why are we the only not-apparently-Asians on this train? What did that overhead speaker say? How many stops left? I’m hungry!). In hindsight it was stupid to be worried about it – it’s quite easy as the Japanese transportation system is mercilessly on time, so you know what’s going on just by looking at your watch and a timetable. And after the ferry from Uni port, we were rewarded with this:

On our first day we went to the Chichu museum. This is my new favorite museum ever. Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Guggenheim, MOMA’s, Barnes foundation – it doesn’t matter. This tiny museum, with its like 10 pieces gave me chills three times, not including the James Turell’s “Open Sky” at dusk program. It’s just the perfect place to go and be quiet and look at something that really begins to distort your perception. Like you may have seen some Monet Water Lilies, but when you see them here, I could have just sat on the floor and watched for hours. To promote the feeling of bending perception, I wish they would have added a strict “no talking” rule to the “no photographs” rule (which is why I have no photographs) – why it is there is always someone at every exhibit who feels the need to explain something to someone who didn’t actually ask for an explanation is beyond me.

We stayed at an AirBnB that included meals at 7070Uogashi. I’m not actually sure about the provenance of the fish it provided (I seem to doubt it was all locally caught, but I didn’t see an obvious grocer or market anywhere on the island!), but everything was quite tasty! The restaurant was quirky (small, old, hilarious covers of pop songs played overhead), but we wouldn’t change a thing.

I kept seeing advertisements for the super-rich Cremia custard. I swear it was so milky it had a cream cheese flavor. Ultimately not quite as sweet as I wanted, but a good experiment.

My last note about Naoshima, as a reminder to our future selves: stay at the Benesse House. Not to be all high maintenance about things (our AirBnB was fine, but it was pretty barebones), but the ease of getting around the island that comes with staying at Benesse House (i.e. the free Benesse House-only shuttle) allows you to cover more ground more effectively. I view it like this: if you’re now at a stage in your life where you’re paying extra $$ to fly nonstop rather than suffering through two layovers to save a hundred bucks, then the Benesse House splurge is worth it. Otherwise, stay in one of the hostels on the island and rent a bike and give yourself enough time to go between the different exhibits (we’d say two full days would be enough – the two half days we had made it hard to see everything we wanted ……. but we saw the Chichu museum, so I’m super happy!)

After Naoshima, we ferry-trained it to Kyoto. We’ve only been here a day, and, as usual, crappy weather continues to follow us around on vacation, so we limited ourselves to the bamboo forest and Nishiki market.

The bamboo forest really is a sight to behold. The stunning trees , so densely lacked, reminds me of standing in a forest of green, super-skinny redwoods. The rain kept some tourists away so we did get some good serene shots, but I instead wanted to show you this one where alluvasudden, a car comes driving down the trail, a bunch of kids hop out and the driver takes their picture right where we were standing. So I figured I’d take their picture too! Maybe one of these kids is famous or a government officials child or something.

On our way to Nishiki market, the map said there was an Ippudo. You’d never know it’s the same as the one in Berkeley by the setup – its rustic, with a large communal table and very few tourists. I ventured a spicy one that featured some minced pork, smoky-spicy flavors, and all the fixings. It was done nicely, but tasted similar to what I had at Berkeley minus the spice. g had the shiomaruwhich was quite good as well. Overal, pretty solid stuff that we’re happy to have eaten for early lunch at 11 ….

… because when w e we’re leaving at 11:30, a line had formed!! Yowzas! I guess we got lucky with our waitlessness!

With full bellies we were ready for Nishiki market, full of vendors selling their wares and foods of various levels of done-ness. Begin the photostorm!

That’s right – g got her Taiyaki. She’s one happy camper!

Really, the only let downs were the Aritsugu and Kikuichimonji knife stores – neither of which had the type of kitchen knife I wanted. I guess I’ll just have to stick with the one I currently have …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 October 2017 at 2:00am

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